Interviews

Paul Townsend Set to Return to Canadian Soil in Modified Competition

When it comes to his love for the open-wheel Modifieds, Paul Townsend put it simply – they are “probably the most fun to drive out of all the divisions.”

“These modifieds with open wheels, unique bodies and being the oldest division in NASCAR history have always intrigued me from watching on TV and going to Oswego to watch the Whelen Modified Tour,” he shared.

The amount of love he shows for the open-wheel cars makes it no surprise to see him as one of the rookies in the 2021 Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC OSCAAR Modified division. Truth be told, though, he will enter with more experience than most, having ran many laps under the Race of Champions tour in the United States and more.

Townsend had planned to run several events last season, but with COVID-19 travel restrictions, was only able to run the five nights of competition at Florida Speedweeks in February. Taking some time to reflect on his program, while speaking to a few local OSCAAR teams, he made the decision to run closer to home for 2021. The choice became easier when a past championship car came up for sale earlier this winter.

“It has been put together and ready for testing and we will see what it’s got; it has run the OSCAAR series before with success,” he said. “I have run with the likes of Gary McLean and Shawn Chenoweth back in the street stock and late model days, so it will be fun to run against them again and renew friendships. The racing community is a good bunch of people.”

With goals of running in the top-five each week while admitting a win will be great, Townsend will hope past experience across Ontario helps in his transition to the OSCAAR tour.

“I have turned many laps at Varney, Sauble Beach and Flamboro,” he commented. “The tracks like Sunset, Peterboro and Kawartha will be challenging to get up to speed quickly, (but) I hope to run as much as I can.

“I prefer the larger tracks like Jukasa that I am used to running south of the border. This will be the event I have circled on my calendar for 2021. But the smaller tracks with the close competition in this division will be interesting and require a good qualifying effort to start and run up front.”

He will also have the benefit in knowing of some of his competitors, including Dale Reinhart and Norman Newman whom pitched in to help him while in Florida last season.

As mentioned, Townsend has a lot of experience under his belt, having gotten involved in racing back in 1979. While none of his family or friends raced, it was attending events at Varney Motor Speedway with his uncle as a child that really let the racing bug set in. It has only grown since then, along with his admiration for other open-wheel giants.

“I admire the guys like the Bodine brothers , Jan Leaty, the Meyers brothers and Matt Hirshman and Ryan Preece, who I got to race against last year,” he commented. “A lot of these drivers are very talented and have gone on to NASCAR Cup Series careers.”

As he gets ready to start this next chapter of his career, he will have a familiar number, electing for the No. 1 for his modified. Simply put, the number fits in with the team in having a No. 21 on the tour modified, and a No. 2 on his ROC Sportsman Modified.

Be sure to keep up with OSCAAR by staying tuned to the series website at http://www.oscaar.ca. Also, make sure to “like” the official OSCAAR Racing Facebook page, while following both the Twitter and Instagram accounts (@OSCAARRacing) to keep up to date on everything you need to know.

OSCAAR’s 2020 racing season was supported by several dedicated partners including Queenston Chevrolet Buick GMC, Knightworks Design, Living Lighting Canada, Scott Reinhart Trailer Sales Ltd., Touchwood Cabinets, Sauble Falls Campground, The Fyre Place & Patio Shop, Ohsweken Speedway, American Racer, and Grisdale Race Products.

By: Ashley McCubbin

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